I tend to think of obituaries as having a funnel-shape. They start off wide and broad, and usually pretty, with the big announcement—whether they start with the news announcement of a death or not or not, the fact of the obituary itself serves the purpose. Then we go circling inwards, like in a comic book version of a black hole. It's the twisting and turning where obituaries often get odd. One obituary style that's popular is the news obit, which circles down in distinct phases: Big Broad Sketch; Details Revisited; and then Further Minutia As My Editor Has, Bizarrely, Asked For Three More Inches. That's an obituary style that [...]
A friend of mine recently graduated with a degree in public relations, minor in journalism. It was a pragmatic concentration balance on its face: one of these fields represented at least a modicum of investment toward gainful employment, the other did not. In a different time, my friend, we’ll call her Fiona, may have given herself over to the romantic notion of the well-traveled journalist, marrying her wanderlust and literary inclinations to a desire to do something in the interest of the public good. But she believed in realism and clear-eyed ambition. Cautious that the budgets to buoy any latent journalistic aspirations had gone the way of the dodo, [...]
When you walk into Chipotle, don’t look ashamed or frightened. You’re eating some righteous food, so own up to it. Stride purposely to the first stop at the Chipotle station and in a commanding voice say: “I’ll have a burrito with black beans and steak.”
Other appropriate orders: barbacoa and steak mix or just barbacoa. To paraphrase Anthony Bourdain for a second (who wouldn’t be caught dead in Chipotle), chicken is for people who don’t know what they want.
Also, if you decide to order a burrito bowl, or God forbid, the tacos, then you need to reevaluate where you’re getting your meal. This isn’t some namby-pamby Taco [...]
As a member of a class of French aristocrats that most Americans would mistake for characters in a faintly Francophobic Monty Python sketch, Christine de Védrines should be forgiven for making unusual choices. An anxious heiress to a centuries-old fortune, she, along with much of her immediate and extended family, entrusted their fortunes and fates to a charismatic gentleman with a penchant for conspiracy theories. The result? For Christine, routine, cultish beatings; for the others, brainwashing, isolation and bankruptcy. It's an uncomfortably fascinating story; vivid and salacious to the point of doubt, and so incredibly specific that it can barely be considered cautionary.
Barely. Somewhere in [...]
Let us add to our modern vocabulary of new concepts (both serious and silly) of "the outrage economy" "the currency of attention" and "metafilm" and "mansplaining" and "metaenabling" and the like yet one more: "story torture": "Story torture is the media strategy of taking a news item and torturing every possible angle out of it. Like real torture, the key is not letting the story die, instead slowly beating it from every last possible angle."
Bartender sought in Chicago: Preferences include "established networker both in person and through social media."
Gabe Zichermann, the author of Game-Based Marketing and a startup advisor and one of those incredibly likeable connector-type people, likes to talk about what motivates people to do the sort of things that make people money. The best incentives aren't often cash, he thinks, unless the money is really good. His acronym for incentives is SAPS, which stands for status, access, power and stuff. Those are in order, by the way, of things that people say they like best. This is an idea that most every businessperson likes, for obvious reasons, including that giving away "status" and "power" can have no ongoing cost.
"Now we care about what [...]
Everyone's building a social networking tool! From Jumo (for do-gooders) to Vyou (for camwhores) to Formspring (for narcissists) to Honestly (for slagging off former coworkers) to Quora (for truth-telling!). One thing that many of these new tools has built in is the ability to trash, annoy and threaten people anonymously. And so here we are: "Formspring proves popular with teens and their tormentors." Yup, $10 million in Series B funding and the newspaper headlines are "Web site brings out the bullies."
Crazy technologist Anil Dash likes to talk about the end of the canon, as it applies to everything from Lady Gaga remixes to forked software on GitHub. Meaning: Increasingly we experience slightly different versions of the same thing. There is no more canonical version.
This is especially true of media. My favorite version of “Paper Planes” may be different than yours. (Yours sucks.) You’re rocking the DFA remix and I’m all about the Afrikan Boy & Rye Rye version. Even live media events are fractured, splintered through the lens of FoxNews or MSNBC or Autotune the News. It takes something huge to crash [...]
Remember that “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy and Ethel take jobs in the chocolate factory and the conveyor belt starts pumping out candy faster than they can pack it in the wrappers so they start stuffing their faces and cleavage with the excess, cowering from the intimidating factory matron? That’s kind of what it’s like to work for Demand Media, as I found out during a brief, ill-fated stint as a freelance copy editor at the 17th largest web property in the U.S. this summer.
A forthcoming restaurant in Soho is not going to have a strict door policy, according to a profile in the Times. It will be located at 170 Mercer Street, it will serve Japanese food and it will take reservations and even, space permitting, walk-ins.
It was noon on a Saturday. It was ninety-five degrees, and there was a line out the door, and the previous customer had been a tiny elderly Armenian woman who had been impossible to understand, and so obviously the person next in line was my former undergraduate thesis advisor.
"I had no idea you worked here!"
"Oh, hi, [redacted]! So nice to see you again!"
"You too! This is such a lovely little place, you must love working here."
Free Williamsburg: What do you think of Williamsburg?
Laurie Anderson: I think it's a pretty cool thing. I mean I'm kind of amazed that so many people are doing paintings again. I love it, I just love paintings, but I thought we were going in a whole other realm of doing stuff on the web or whatever, not just sitting around and making paintings, like the 1950s or something. But, there are some good paintings! Every time you say something about New York, and you think you've got it all figured out and you think you understand it, along comes a painter that goes "Hey, check out [...]
Cellphone contracts represent both the semi-sexual climax and death rattle of our civilization. This magical meeting of law, technology and corporate bravado has created a whole wild new frontier of consumer interaction, undoing along the way centuries of prevailing thought about the customer being "right" and having any power of "voting with their dollars." It's remarkable what we chose to accept! But if you think we have it bad in America? Try dealing with canceling a cellphone contract in France: "Go to the United States and once you are there, go to the Mairie de Californie (aka the 'city hall of California') and get them to write you [...]
Vincent Gallo says it wasn’t him. The New York Post quotes the actor-cum-director-cum-musician venting frustrations about fake Twitter accounts using his identity, lamenting “it is embarrassing having anyone believe I would sign up for and communicate with Twitter.” It sure is!
Yet since April of 2009, someone claiming to be Gallo has been writing weird, vitriolic, perverted and syrup-obsessed tweets as @Vincent_Gallo. In other words, it’s a rather convincing portrayal. And despite Gallo’s protests, the account remains live and continues to plead for maple syrup. But storm clouds on the horizon! Twitter just kicked Fake Gary Busey off the set [...]
You know the panicky, paranoid manner in which the Tea Partiers appear to cling to their guns and religion, as if someone really were trying to take them away? For some of us, the same condition of ongoing nerves regarding the encroaching powers of the State comes instead from a V for Vendetta- or Fahrenheit 451-type terror of the State coming after our books. Various States have indeed come after all of these assets, from time to time, so it’s not like any of us is entirely making this stuff up. At this very moment they don’t let Chinese people or Cubans or Belarusians or many, many others [...]
Things you don't like to see on a Twitter from a "World Wide Security Company contractual work, Weapons Expert." Similarly: stuff like "15 DEVICES WERE PLANNED TO BE SHIPPED TO THE US THRU COMMERCIAL AIR." Also: "CNN's original tweet said bomb found in London. Turns out it's not explosives & not London." Who knows? UPS says: "UPS is [...]
I came late to Facebook, after going through all the predictable phases: the disdain, the excuses, the stalking via “borrowed” log-in, the particular form of procrastination known as “what-would-I-put-in-my-hypothetical-profile?,” followed eventually by an ambivalent, job-search related realization that I had to bite the bullet. But before I did—before I opened the floodgates of reconnection—I knew I had to pick up the phone and call my childhood best friend. We hadn’t talked in years, but I couldn’t stand the thought of putting our past on the same level as everyone else’s, basically ensuring that our long history would be reduced to smiley, yearbook-style platitudes.
1. Probably not, seeing as the people who own the houses are retaining titles left and right because apparently few financial institutions can actually follow the foreclosure guidelines. Bad news for Nevada, Arizona and California, where about half of home sales are of foreclosed houses.
2. Also you probably should not buy a foreclosed house if you already have one that you're living in and the marshals are banging at the door. (You should, however, get a lawyer!)